Nouveaux caught up with two creatives to talk about career decisions, the industry and regrets.
In an industry fuelled by competition and creativity, it is never easy for individuals to gain acclaim and achieve success. As a creative myself, I can attest to the adversities one faces while trying to “make it” in the industry, especially when it is an industry shadowed by austerity and what some might view as pretence.
‘What If?’ A question, or phrase rather, commonly used in society; from aspiration setbacks to career choices. We’ve all asked ourselves that question at some point in life and possibly the immediate thought afterwards is ‘I regret’ or ‘I wish I had done this…’ or is more severe cases, both.
To find out on whether regret is truly a common thought, particularly with those in the creative industry, I caught up with two creatives to discuss the matter and other topics.
Nouveaux: Hi guys, thanks for chatting with me today. Can you both tell me a little about why you chose to go into the Arts?
Raheem: I was very much into the Arts from an early age. Drawing, writing, and producing music – I simply loved to create. I have to hold my uncle (who is an incredible painter) as the person responsible for influencing me.
Charles: Acting at first was an escape for me. I wasn’t moved to be an actor because of the fame or money and never did I say from a young age that acting was what I wanted.
From a young age I actually wanted to be a pilot or an aeronautical engineer and I kept my focus on this whilst growing up. However I had a timid childhood and when I discovered acting through a teacher of mine I enjoyed the liberation it gave me. Because I enjoyed the liberation I wanted it to continue. This was when the decision was made to go into the arts. Thereafter I began to discover other skills I had in the arts. Now I see myself as a creative than just an actor.
NVX: What adversities have you faced since becoming an artist or since you began your journey as a creative?
Charles: I’ve faced all manners of adversities in my short journey as a creative. However as a black creative, the main one for me is racial prejudice, it determines the amount work you get and has the power to destroy your self-esteem.
Raheem: I guess finding the balance between making work that I am content with, but also as something that I can make a sustainable living out of has been a difficult challenge to overcome. I am not quite there yet, but I feel that I will get there soon, God willing.
NVX: What are your top dislikes and likes about the creative industry?
- Constant competition
- Insecurity developed from pleasing people with your work
- Pretentious people
- If you’re doing well the reward and treatment is great.
- Most of the time you are surrounded with likeminded people, who are eager to create something as you are.
- You get paid for doing something you enjoy.
- Logically, you are your own manager depending on what your role is.
Raheem: I feel like there is very little space for individuals (particularly within Photography) to truly express themselves. I attribute the role of social media to this notion. I mean, you only have to go on platforms such as Instagram and Tumblr to see how generic work has become.
For example, there is this ‘trend’ at the moment where photographers are capturing portraits of subjects holding or being surrounded by flowers. What exactly is the incentive behind this? Are individuals simply trying to create aesthetically pleasing pictures or are they trying to make a meaningful statement?
I am certain that many of these individuals would not be able to give you a straight answer. I feel the problem is the creative industry solely used to be a space for ‘professionals’. Those who had a following where truly experts in their field. Nowadays, you could be a rookie with a good camera and have thousands of people following your work. I could not care less about how many followers someone has. Quality over quantity. All day, every day.
NVX: Do you ever regret choosing your occupation as a career or wish you had chosen a different career path?
Raheem: I never regret anything in life. God has a plan for each and every one of us, so I am just accepting of my situation – whether it be good or bad.
Charles: Most artists are faced with this. I’m in a constant civil war with my mind. But then I take into account this advice that was given to me by a friend of mine. He said to me ‘disappointments, intimidations and failure should not determine your career path’ and that’s what I’ve kept at heart.
NVX: What advice do you have for those in the stage of choosing a career path in the arts?
Charles: Think far ahead and plan well. As an artist you are a brand, you are a business. Be opened to criticism but don’t allow people to dictate your creativity. Make the most of opportunity and time, if you see potential in a project that isn’t paying, take it.
Raheem: Never stop being true to yourself. Period.